Saft delivers its 50th Li-ion battery module for GEO satellite platform

Saft has just marked an important milestone in its long standing relationship with Thales Alenia Space (TAS), a world leader in satellite systems, by delivering its 50thlithium ion batteries module for the Spacebus medium class GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) telecommunication satellite platform. Following on from the success of the first installation on Syracuse IIIA, this 50th battery module will be installed onboard the 21st GEO Spacebus satellite and will be fitted to a further 8 missions planned for the near future.

‘The delivery of the 50th Spacebus battery module is a significant achievement that not only confirms our lithium ion batteries as the technology of choice for mission?critical spaceflight applications, it also demonstrates our excellent working relationship with Thales Alenia Space,’ said Philippe Jehanno, General Manager of Saft’s Space and Defence Division.. ‘This relationship, which goes back to 1985, has played an important role in helping our advanced Li?ion space technology progress from the early prototype stages to its current position as a mature, flight?proven generic solution.’
Role of the onboard batteries on the Spacebus GEO satellite

Normally, the onboard electronic systems on a GEO satellite rely on its solar panels for their electric power. However, the GEO orbit means that during the twice?yearly equinoxes – in March and September – the panels are in ‘eclipse’ with no direct sunlight. During these periods of around 22 days the batteries have to fulfill the demanding role of providing sufficient power to ensure the satellite’s continued, uninterrupted operation, over a projected 15 year mission life.

The Spacebus batteries also assume an important role before the satellite enters orbit, as they have to provide a high level of performance even after 5 years of ground storage, as well as providing power throughout the satellite integration, transfer and in?orbit test phases.

Smaller, lighter batteries – larger payloads

TAS has adopted Saft’s Li ion technology rather than nickel?hydrogen (NiH2) batteries for the Spacebus due to its capability to store the same amount of energy in a smaller package, making it possible to realize weight savings of around 50 percent. This enables TAS to utilize more of the satellite’s crucial overall mass to carry a larger operational payload.
The Spacebus power requirement can range from 2.5 to 18 kW depending on its mission and payloads. So Saft offers a flexible approach with battery systems that integrate two or four individual modules, built up from a number of battery cell packages comprising high energy VES 100, VES140 or VES 180 Li?ion cells, to provide the ideal match for each specific application.
Saft’s industrialized electrochemistry expertise and battery manufacturing capabilities are customized to meet the highly rigorous demands of space qualification, and comply with the highest ESA/CNES and spaceflight standards.
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The high energy VES space qualified cylindrical Li?ion cells utilized in the Spacebus modules are manufactured and assembled in Saft’s facility in Bordeaux, Battery integration and testing is carried out at Saft’s facilities in Poitiers France. The specialist team at Poitiers also provides Saft’s space customers with strong engineering support for system integration and in?orbit support.
About Thales Alenia Space

The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups’ "Space Alliance". Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecommunications, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. With consolidated revenues of 2 billion euros in 2010, Thales Alenia Space has 7,200 employees at 10 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium.